Tesla Model S Outguns BMW M5 in 0-to-100 MPH Dash

By · October 11, 2012

Model S versus BMW M5

Automobile Magazine put the Tesla Model S against the BMW M5 in an all out race from 0 to 100 miles per hour.

Last month, I lived with the Tesla Model S for a week. I reported my impressions, including the use of Tesla’s network of superchargers, in The New York Times. I wrote a lot about range, design, handling, charging and high-tech features—but when friends ask me about the Model S, my immediate reply is simple: “It’s fast.”

The newspaper is not the place to fully discuss the EV’s speed, especially because any real-world numbers that exceed the legal speed limit could be interpreted as encouragement to break the law. So, I was glad to see that Automobile Magazine put the 2012 Tesla Model S on the track against a 2013 BMW M5 to determine which vehicle can sprint fastest from 0-to-100 miles per hour.

The two vehicles stack up neatly on paper. The price for the Model S (with the 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack) and the M5 both hover around $100,000. The M5’s horsepower, delivered via a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine, cranks out 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque—versus the 416 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque from the performance version of the Model S. Of course, when it comes to efficiency, the Model S’s 89 MPGe trounces the M5’s 15 miles per gallon. But what about raw speed?

Automobile Magazine's Ezra Dyer introduces the race, which took place at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Mich. As the two vehicles roll up to the line, the Model S is silent, while the M5 roars. But the Model S, running on electrons, pulls away much faster from the line than the gas-thirsty BMW. Despite signs towards the end of the strip that the M5 was starting to catch up, the Model S handily beats the high-performance Bimmer across the finish.

Dyer says that, with the Model S, most people are probably more concerned about is range. “But guess what?” he adds. “It’s quicker than an M5.” Dyer calls the Model S “the sneakiest performance car on the market.” If eliminating tailpipe emissions and use of fossil fuels doesn’t sell EVs like the Model S, then the feeling of raw power from behind the wheel—a ton of fun when you have it on city streets, country roads, and stretches of highway—might do the trick.

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